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KSD Teacher Selected to Teach For America Instructional Excellence Fellowship Program

Dr. Sheriah Mason, a first-grade teacher at Keysor Elementary School in the Kirkwood School District is one of 12 teachers selected as part of the Teacher For America (TFA) Instructional Excellence Fellowship Cohort. The Instructional Excellence Fellowship is a six-month professional development program that invests in teachers with a track record of strong student learning outcomes. The program brings together a diverse pool of effective teachers across the Greater St. Louis area to foster collaboration, share innovative practices and problem-solve around one of today’s most pressing classroom challenges, engaging all learners. 

 

In her classroom at Keysor, Dr. Mason strives to get her students invested in their learning. During a writing unit, students demonstrate their knowledge by using a variety of mediums including animating their story or recording their story. “When students have choice and voice in the classroom, students take ownership of their learning,” said Mason. “When they are invested in their learning, they dig deep to demonstrate their knowledge.” 

 

Keysor principal Dr. Alyssa Taylor shares she always sees students actively engaged in their learning when in Dr. Mason’s classroom. “When you walk into her classroom, there is so much shared ownership of their work. She meets every student where they are and empowers them to go further. Her classroom is welcoming and conducive to learning,” said Taylor. 

 

The program is among several initiatives launched by TFA St. Louis as part of its long-term goal to double the number of students in St. Louis schools reaching key educational milestones by 2030. To reach that goal, the organization has shifted its focus from recruiting and developing early-career teachers to investing in the development and impact of local leadership talent, including more than 600 TFA alumni. 

 

The Instructional Excellence Fellowship is specifically designed to support and retain mid-career teachers with more than four years of experience in the classroom. Mason earned her doctorate in educational leadership from Maryville University. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Missouri St. Louis in Elementary Education and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in Sociology.

 

“We’re doubling down on retaining and supporting teachers in St. Louis because we know that an effective teacher can transform a child’s entire life trajectory,” said Elizabeth Bleier, executive director of TFA St. Louis. “We seek to create a space for some of the best teachers to come together and discuss innovative ideas, challenges, and practices across school types, and bring learnings back to their schools and communities. Our hope is that this initiative will not only strengthen student experiences and learning outcomes in classrooms but encourage more coalition-building and collaboration across the St. Louis education community.”

Mason is one of 12 teachers across 11 school districts selected for the program. They are: 

Amy Gregory, Southeast Middle School, Hazelwood School District

  • Amy Grove, Collinsville Middle School, Collinsville Community Unit School District
  • Ashley Hagerty, Hollenbeck Middle School, Francis Howell School District
  • Blair Hopkins, Parkway West High School, Parkway School District
  • Colette Morton, Gateway STEM High School, St. Louis Public School District
  • Emilia Belciak, Kairos Academies
  • Jamorie Johnson, KIPP Triumph Academy Middle School
  • Joy Rogers, Jury Elementary, Hazelwood School District
  • Lex Kosieradzki, EAGLE Prep: Tower Grove East
  • Lynda Ha, Northside Community Middle School
  • Sarah Becvar, Saint Louis University High School
  • Dr. Sheriah Mason, Keysor Elementary School, Kirkwood School District

“We’re doubling down on retaining and supporting teachers in St. Louis because we know that an effective teacher can transform a child’s entire life trajectory,” said Elizabeth Bleier, executive director of TFA St. Louis. “We seek to create a space for some of the best teachers to come together and discuss innovative ideas, challenges, and practices across school types, and bring learnings back to their schools and communities. Our hope is that this initiative will not only strengthen student experiences and learning outcomes in classrooms but encourage more coalition-building and collaboration across the St. Louis education community.”

Participants will engage in more than 20 hours of collaborative cohort meetings, professional development, and career discussions. Additionally, they will each receive a $500 award, which can be put towards either classroom supplies or a portion of the cost to pursue National Board Certification, a prestigious credentialing program that recognizes outstanding teaching.

To learn more about TFA St. Louis, visit https://www.teachforamerica.org/where-we-work/st-louis or follow them on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with 350 urban and rural communities across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders who make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, Teach For America is a force of over 64,000 alumni and corps members working in over 9,000 schools nationwide in pursuit of profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they are reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, lead, thrive, and co-create a future filled with possibility. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.